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Sprint Spark devices can't handle calls and data at the same time

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Sprint Spark devices can't handle calls and data at the same time
While Sprint Spark has been touted by the carrier for current data speeds as fast as 60Mbps and for possible future speeds of 120Mbps using carrier aggregation, the tri-band LTE service does take a step backward when it comes to multitasking. According to Consumer Reports, Sprint customers using Sprint Spark will not be able to talk on the phone and browse the web at the same time.

Sprint's current LTE service allows customers to use data and voice simultaneously. Before the days of LTE service, mobile subscribers using a CDMA carrier like Sprint, could not use data and talk at the same time. On the other hand, this was a feature that those using a GSM carrier are accustomed to having. Now, those connected to an LTE pipeline have the ability to talk and check their email, or browse the web, at the same time.

Sprint has made a statement admitting that Sprint Spark does not allow for simultaneous use of voice and data. But the carrier adds that the tri-band LTE service does offer improved coverage, a higher quality of voice and data service, and improved battery performance.

"Sprint Spark devices leverage eCSFB technology (enhanced Circuit Switch Fall Back) which enables single radio functionality in the handset. This allows Sprint to leverage the many benefits of Network Vision, including the ability to utilize multiple CDMA and LTE spectrum bands efficiently. Although, simultaneous voice and LTE is not supported on new Sprint Spark devices, it does provide improved coverage, quality of voice and data service, as well as improved battery performance."-Statement from Sprint

Will the inability of Sprint Spark to handle voice and data at the same time, limit its ability to attract new subscribers to Sprint? Would it be enough of an issue as to lead to an exodus of current Sprint subscribers? We won't know the answers to those questions until the service starts rolling out in earnest. By the end of this year, Sprint Spark will cover 100 million Americans. By 2016, the service will be in 100 markets.



source: ConsumerReport via PocketNow via MobileBurn

62 Comments
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posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:26 2

1. firestarter2 (Posts: 16; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Sprint is a Joke of a company I was a long time sprint customer and was happy with them. But there leadership and decision making is questionable..

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:31 1

3. Finalflash (Posts: 3226; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


What they are still doing with CDMA is beyond me. If I were them I would start hardcore updating to the next standard instead of propping and dressing up this current skeleton more.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 17:13

26. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


I wonder and does anyone know if this could be the reason sprint is pushing to launch HD voice nationwide? Does HD voice allow simultaneous calls on spark? It does strike me as odd because in the non spark markets you can simultaneous voice and data this with no problem. At any rate when VoLTE is available this problem will go away. Plus before I would call this a CDMA problem think about it that has not changed the defiance is the way LTE is handled in spark 800 MHz 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz transmitting and receiving at the same time. Is anyone else using simultaneous frequencies on LTE worldwide?

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 17:36

30. TheRequiem (Posts: 241; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)


CDMA will be non-existent in a few years after everything updates to LTE.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 17:38 1

31. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


I bet it will take longer than that BTW hspa+ is CDMA

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 18:27 3

35. miles16852 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


WRONG!! ITS GSM!! what are you smoking!?!

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 21:27

39. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


it may be concidered GSM but it uses a CDMA carrier, do some reaserch. Why do you think they call it wcdma?

http://www.rohde-schwarz.com/en/technologies/cellular/wcdma-hspa/wcdma-hspa-hspaplus-technology/wcdma-hspa-hspaplus_55946.html

also the packet data version of cdma is cdma-revB and the us carriers decided to skip packet data cdma and go right to LTE

posted on 05 Apr 2014, 00:05 2

44. true1984 (Posts: 825; Member since: 23 May 2012)


wcdma and the cdma2000 used by vzw and sprint are completely different

posted on 05 Apr 2014, 23:57

56. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


not true there are many things the technologies have in common. The biggest differance is they are adapted to be backwords compatable with a certain 2g technology. WCDMA is backwords compatible with GSM. CDMA2000 EVDO, are backwords compatible with IS95

http://www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/files/commonalities-between-cdma2000-and-wcdma-technologies.pdf

posted on 06 Apr 2014, 11:42

57. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


UMTS' WCDMA has nothing to do with GSM's TDMA and is not backwards compatible with it. That's why 3G GSM needed new bands while 3G CDMA used the same data slices as 2G CDMA but with a more spectrum-efficient modulation.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 21:54

41. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


Here is the history I remember from the qualcomm vs ericsson patent dispute in the mid to late 90's the biggest differance between UMTS (w-cdma) and cdmaone currentley refered to as CDMA was the bandwidth require for the channels 1.25mhz for CDMAone and 5mhz for UMTS with some other minor tweaks they could have been compatible

posted on 05 Apr 2014, 08:56

46. lsutigers (Posts: 820; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)


Sprint (along with Verizon and AT&T) still have a lot of 2G/3G enterprise customers using M2M (machine to machine) services which they still need to support. Many of these M2M applications don't have the bandwith requirement of LTE. Some 2G and definitely 3G, at all major carriers whether GSM or CDMA, will be around for a long time.

posted on 14 Nov 2014, 23:38

61. ajc1973 (Posts: 2; Member since: 01 Nov 2014)


verizon is cdma

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:32 3

5. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


CDMA is a joke of access method. No wonder that it's found customer practically only int he US, where companies can donate enough to a senator's campaign to get whatever it wants.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 16:39

22. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


spark is a LTE network its not CDMA, LTE is generally considered to be fourth generation GSM

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 16:54 2

25. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Voice calls still go through CDMA. With Spark, they use the CDMA band to have LTE in it. Without a CDMA voice channel, there can be no voice calls util VoLTE is supported by the network and devices.

I'd think that Sprint throttles Spark by giving up the CDMA band when a voice call is needed, alas...

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 17:23

27. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


Maybe, but with the non spark markets sprint just uses the 1900mhz for both LTE and CDMA simultaneously. I used it today and it works flawlessly. If what you’re saying it true this is very easy to fix just leave 10 MHz reserved for voice on CDMA and problem solved

posted on 05 Apr 2014, 12:50

49. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


In order to use the same band for CDMA and LTE, CDMA uses half of the spectrum and LTE, the other half. This means that LTE performance will be 3G-like, the reason why speed in the Sprint network where it hasn't deployed the 2500 band suffers.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 17:35 8

29. TheRequiem (Posts: 241; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)


Yeah 5 years ago... the new leadership, Dan Hesse and Co as well as Chairman Masayoshi Son and their new network directors have a very strong track record of doing what they say they are going to do.

I think Consumer Reports is out of the loop, everything will be LTE in a few years... and voice will migrate to VoLTE so I think they are making a big deal about nothing. Sprint has also said this will change with newer devices this year and that they will support both at same time. This is a limitation of the chips that are being made for their tri-band network, not a network letdown. With that being said, Sprint will have the upper advantage in a few years time. They are the only carrier that even has a tri-band LTE network. Coverage, Workhorse and Capacity bands.

As soon as they finish up their Network VIsion transition by mid year and launch Spark Nationwide, they will own the speed crown and have a pretty widespread LTE Network. Masayoshi Son said he will start a major price war and build thousands of new towers and small cells. I think he's putting his money where his mouth is, Sprint has cleared $32 billion for Network Upgrades over the next few years so all these Sprint Bashing Trolls are getting old. Get over it and go with another carrier and keep quiet.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 17:41

32. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


well said!!

posted on 05 Apr 2014, 12:51

50. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


"Everything will be LTE"

Mind you, it took 30 years for AMPS (analog cell) to be decommissioned.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 22:16

43. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


So I read the article and the comments and it seems to me that this not that big of a deal more than likely something that can be fixed with a software revision. Sprints non spark network supports simultaneous voice and data but spark does not. All Sprint would be to do is make a software revision that when a voice call is answered to use the service like the non spark networks simple. When you end the call go back into spark mode. It would not be as fast but would solve the problem. I would be shocked if they don’t all ready know this and have a fix in the works

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:27

2. black02wing (Posts: 30; Member since: 05 Feb 2007)


No Spark for Sprint.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:31 4

4. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 14309; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Who talks and browses the Internet on their phone anyways?

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:39

7. tigermcm (Posts: 856; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)


I've never used it never had a reason to use it, it's a gimmick

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 16:51 2

23. tuminatr (Posts: 774; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


I use it ocasionally but you are right not very often, at any rate when voice moves to LTE this will not be a problem anymore

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:48 4

8. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


How about sending an email while on a conference call? On Sprint, nope, can't do that.

posted on 05 Apr 2014, 00:08

45. true1984 (Posts: 825; Member since: 23 May 2012)


well you can actually, just not on spark

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 15:59 6

9. Finalflash (Posts: 3226; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


That happens all the time, you might be talking and need to check something mentioned by someone. Or maybe they're all like, "DAAAMMMN did you see that shot" on that live stream you're watching on the go. I can't imagine not having the ability to do both, half the time I have to go through patient details with someone on the phone while on my way to and from work to get a head start.

posted on 04 Apr 2014, 16:10 7

10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I do and so do millions of other people.

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